Siddhantic works – some comments.

Siddhantic works – a discussion in the ‘””Hindu civilization”

We have to discuss them without mincing the words. It is better to do the exercise quoting from the sources, so that we would not waste time or indulge in making mistakes.

We have to read the originals, read the translations and check with the mss to find out the number of leaves of palm-leaf books containing slokas. Out of 100, 1000 …leaves only one or two bring certain details, which are subjected to interpretation. In other words, 90 to 99% of the text has been subject-oriented and Indian oriented only. Here, one has to understand the ” Indian historiography ” also in the study of ” history of science and technology ” . Based on such few palm-leaves found in between, much has been written already. Take the example of a sloka reportedly found after sloka 1 to 6 in Surya Siddhanta as recorded by Burgess (The Surya Siddhanta, p.3):

” Go therefore to Romaka-city, thine own residence; there, undergoing incarnation as a barbarian, owing to a curse of Brahma, I will impart to thee this science ” .

How to decide about this? About its authenticity or interpolation – purpose of insertion – when done? These questions would expose.

Coming to Parasara, it all started with asking for the Parasara manuscripts. The 18 Siddhants are:

1. Surya
2. Soma
3. Pitamaha
4. Vasistha
5. Atri
6. Parasara

1. Kasyapa
2. Narada
3. Gargya
4. Marici
5. Manu
6. Angirasa

1. Lomasa
2. Paurukutsa
3. Cyvana
4. Yavana
5. Bhrgu
6. Saunaka

So I tried to emphasize about the recognition of 5 or 18 Siddhantas, as Parasara Siddhanta happens to be the one of 18 and not 5.

Though, Varahamihira mentions the five:

1. Paulisha
2. Romaka
3. Vasishta
4. Saura
5. Paithamaha

Paulisha and Romaka are not in the 18.

So when Varahamihira added the ” two new ones ” with the ” three from the above 18 ” to form The FIVE, it does not mean that the 18 were not there. But the fact is that he wanted to project the FIVE for the reasons to be researched into. Ironically, in his invocation, he mentions Dhinakara and Vaistha along with other sages. He records about ” Purvacharya ” (Verse No.1). Latadeva commented upon the TWO – Paulisha and Romaka (2) (which are not in the 18). Though, he mentioned the order as above, he started with Vasistha (Vasishrtha Siddhanta – Chapter 2).

The following has been the confession of G. Thibaut about the imperfect and fragmentary nature of ms with which he treied to translate to understand:

” Imperfect and fragmentary as (the) text and (the) translations are, we may assert, at any rate, that in our endeavours to overcome the quite unusual obstacles which the corrupt and bare text of the Pachasiddhantika opposes to the interpreter, we have spread no trouble. The time and thought devoted to the present volume would, I may say without exaggeration, have amply sufficed for the editing and explaining of twenty times the amount of text presenting only normal difficulties ” (G. Thoibaut, in the Preface, p.v).

That is why I commented in HC. No.20393. But, unfortunately, the point was diverted with egoism stating that, ” ….I have photocopy of all original texts in hand ….I can read in original …I do not want Kuppanna …..Your knowledge is zero…… ” . I am very sorry the way HC is going.

However, the western or European intention had / has been to discredit Indian astronomy by bringing a discussion of astrology in it. The Zodiacal interpretation of astronomy is invariably mixed with astrology in such process. Indian scholars, particularly, with the background of Sanskrit, Vedas and Vedangas had not been clever enough to match with them in historical interpretation. They had knowledge of other civilizations and matching factors, which the Indian scholars did not know. Moreover, the Indian scholars had been imbibed with Itihasa and Puranas while dealing with astronomy. So they were interpreting about the Persians, Greeks, etc as ” the degraded kshatriyas ” , when they were informed about the Greek-Babylonian-Assyrian astronomy with astrology. Edward Pockoke, William Jones and others too accepted such interpretation finding similarities between the Greek and Indian civilizations. However, they struck to their interpretation that the Indians derived from the Greek-Babylonian-Assyrian astronomy with astrology.

About the asterism – 27 or 28 etc kindly see:

William D. Whitney, On the Views of Biot and Weber respecting the relations of the Hindu and Chinese Systems of Asterisms with an addition, on Muller’s views respecting the same subject by William D. Whitney, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol.VIII, 1864.

About Kaliyuga, kidly refer to the following:

1 . John Playfair, Remarks on the Astronomy of the Brahmins, A paper presented on March 2, 1789 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

2. John Faithful Fleet, The Kaliyuga Era of B. C. 3102, Journal of Royal asiatic Society, 1911, pp.479-496 & 675-698

3.  H. P. Blavatsky, Notes from ” The Secret Doctrine ” , Vol.I, Theosophical Press, Online edition, Downloaded from the website, pp.647-668.

4. B. L. Van Der Waerden, The Conjunction of 3102 B.C, Centarus, 1980, Vol.24, pp.117-131.

5. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Kali Era – The Lively Controversy Among the Western Scholars, A paper presented at the Aryabhatteyam Seminar on April 20, 1999.

6.  Ravi Prakash Arya, Steppiong into 52nd Century, Akhil Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, New Delhi – 110 055.

7. R. Brahmachari & B. B. Basu, Hindu Chronology : Most Scientific System of Reckoning Time, World of Science, pp.373-382.

8. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, The Vedangas, The Astrological Magazine, November 2002, Vol.91, No.11, pp.913-991..

9. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Historicity, Atronomy and Kaliyuga, Saptarishi era and Ancient Historical Dates, International Society for the Investigation of Ancient Civilizations, Madras, 2003, pp.44-57

10. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao Kali Era as Gleaned from the Literary and Epigraphical Evidences, Ibid, pp.58-70.

We shall continue our discussion.

Anybody can give any comments (no diversion, no egoism, personal attacks etc) without diluting the spirit.

The Confusion of Astyronomy and Astrology: As I mentioned about the methodology of writing ” History of Indian Science and Technology ” , the non-Indians and even Indians always think about their Vedic Scientists, Vedic Astronomers, Vedic Mathematicians etc as Brahmins with tufts, wearing sacred threads, donning ochre robes,
murmuring mantras, sitting before sacred fires (yagnas) and inventing or discovering as if only through reciting mantras.

Whereas, the Greek and Arab counterparts are depicted with astronomical instruments making observations, conducting experiments with astrolabes, dealing with geared machines, pouring chemicals from round-bottom flask
to conical flask etc! Many times, the background of the imaginary depictions of such scientists would be filled with machinery parts, gears, telescopes, etc. Such figures prominently appear in standard books, encyclopedias and internet too.

This is totally wrong. Mantra reciting Vedic or Brahman groups have been different from other groups. Leaving that discussion aside, the Indian Scientists-Astronomers-Mathematician groups were unique and they could have arrived at such results only through observations, calculations and experiments. Of course, we do not have the material evidences used for observations, calculations and experiments.

However Negative Evidence cannot be evidence: Then, a question rises naturally – ” What happened to them ” ? A numberless person becoming expert in solving theorems, a blind man drawing a picture or portrait or a dumb reciting Vedas, people manufacturing bricks of exactly specific dimensions without such knowledge, manufacturing gold jewelry without jewel art and technology, using gems without the knowledge of gem cutting etc., cut without axe, broke without hammer, chiseled without chisel, carved without implements? Absence of evidence due to different reasons cannot be a reason to doubt the existence when the subsequent events, records and others show that such things could have existed.

The astrological interpretation of astronomy has marred Indian astronomy. As a Siddhantic work contains the exact astronomy and also cosmology, geography etc., the English-translators would make such interpretation without understanding the significance. Thus, taking the astrological interpretation of astronomy, the westerners have blown out in to proportions that the Indian astronomers, though knew or borrowed from others, they were ultimately interested only in astrology that too, ” predictive astrology ” .

So in the name of Parasara, we have all sorts of Siddhantas, Samhitas and Smritis and ” Nadi sastra ” works also. There is a work ” Gnana upadesham 22 ” attributed to Parasara available (Fourth part of Gnana sasthirat-tirattu) [R. N. Iyengar can go to Tamarai Nulagam who have published some works and Vriddhacalam for Nasdi-works and see such manuscripts of Parasara]. Even westerners have started conducting courses in ” Nadi sastra ” ! In this way, Indians are misled and made to forget their real scientific roots. Talking scientific temper, we are loosing our temper and trying to harden than cooling. And more and more such interpretation (of caricaturing, ridiculing, and deriding nature) comes from Indians, that too, Hindus, it becomes laughing stock for the westerners.

Suddenly a lot of interest has been generated in ” Prasara Samhita / Smruti / tantra ” and there have been enquiries in the Oriental manuscripts libraries, archives and other libraries. During July-August alone, the enquiries about this particular manuscript have been tremendous. My friend at one of such Manuscript libraries informs particularly the enquiries from foreign and through Indian contacts has been specifically about it, because it reportedly contains details about  astronomy, Silpa-sastra and medicine (three-in-one). A sculptor has been hectic about acquiring it at any cost.

Again coming to the astrological mixup of Indian Astronomy, Varahamihira is also associated with Brihat Samhita, Brihat Jataka etc., can we then accuse him of introducing ” predictve astrology ” in India? The favourite Persian came to India and spoiled the astronomical minds of Indians turning them to predictive astrology forgetting observational astronomy. A Greek or Persian for Indians becoming so irrational! There has been one Prigu Manthrigam 100, can we accuse of Prigu for sorcery, witchcraft etc? Why Varahamihira had not compiled ” Pancha-Samhita, Pancha-Jataka, Pancha-karana, Pancha-tantra ” etc., but only ” Pancha-Siddhantika ” ? I request scholars like A. K. Kaul and others to research into this aspect critically.

Much of the controversy over the origin of Indian zodiac could be avoided if a multi-disciplinary research is made out. Zodiac involves mathematics, spherical geometry, geography, longitudes and latitudes, and other subjects. That the 12 divides zodiac into equally into 300, that the zone of the celestial sphere extending to a width of about 80,
etc., imply the known knowledge. That even modern and advanced astronomy depends on 12 divisions perhaps divorcing the astrological symbolism proves that it has been in use for many years.

Here, the Inthinai Zodiac ” (The Zodiac represented by Five Parts of Nature covering land, behaviour of birds, animals and people, Sun, Moon and Stars) of the ancient Tamils / Indians represented with respective seasonal, cyclic, climatic symbolism with animals, flowers, musical instruments etc., may be interesting for consideration. It could have been developed into 12 depending upon the exigency. We have been noting how the number of asterism, planets etc., are changing according to human precept, concept and development of hypotheses, theories and laws,
so also the enumeration of days, weeks, months etc. Therefore, the ancient origin of Zodiac could be traced back to it, if the antiquity of Tamil Indians (no linguistic or racial connotation please – the Sanskrit-Tamil dichotomy has been only artificial and not real) is taken into account.

VEDAPRAKASH

06-09-2007.

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One Response to “Siddhantic works – some comments.”

  1. The “National Seminar on Cataloguing, editing and Publication of Ancient   Indian Manuscripts on Science and Technology” held on March  25th  28th 2019 at Bangalore [4] | Kvramakrishnarao's Blog Says:

    […] [2] https://vedaprakash.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/25-siddhantic-works/ […]

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